April 23rd, 2021
Turner Artist Watercolors, Turner's Yellow has an interesting legend or mystery behind it. The history of Indian Yellow, one of the colors used by J.M.W. Turner, seems to be rich with contradictory stories about its origins. According to an article on the Artists Network Website "Turner's Mysterious Yellow" by John Hulsey and Ann Trusty, recounts the process of making Indian Yellow as recounted in a letter written by Mr. T. N. Mukharji sent to the Society of Arts in London in 1883 as follows "the making of Indian Yellow as consisting of collecting the urine of cattle left to roam in mango orchards in the Bihar province of India. In one version of this story it was said that the cows were made to urinate into buckets on command. The urine was then concentrated over fire, filtered through cloth and made into balls left to dry in the sun. Another version says that the urine was collected somehow, then mixed with clay and rolled into small balls of about three to four ounces." The mystery gets more complicated by other stories that tell of the banning of the Indian Yellow production due to cruelty to cows. A more recent author researched this story finding no basis to any banning of the pigments production. The article explains that the dispute over the veracity of that letter is further dispensed off when in "1839, M.J.F.L. Merinee wrote in the book, The Art of Painting in Oil and in Fresco, that the color may be extracted from a large shrub called memecylon tinctorium (used by natives for yellow dye) which exudes the smell of cow urine." This more acceptable origin is given more credence when in "1844 a German chemist, John Stenhouse, examined balls of the color and also concluded that it was of vegetable origin." Whether is was urine or a plant that smelled like it matters not. Turner's yellow is a delicate landing somewhere between Hansa Yellow light and a warmer, cadmium yellow.
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“I am a contemplative artist who has trouble accessing verbal skills. Finding the right words to talk about the amazing things I observe around me can be frustrating. It is much more natural for me to pick up a paintbrush, some embroidery floss or my camera when I wish to share some new discovery. The artwork I create is meant to be enjoyed on whatever level the viewer experiences it and not layered with complex meaning. Feathers, fur, flowers and the incredible variation I find in wildlife not only inspire me, but compel me to share every nuance with you.